The legacy of Alderman Graves, and lessons for regeneration

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to give a lecture at Sheffield University’s Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences. The talk focused on people-centred approaches to regeneration, and how they could be encouraged in today’s policy context. The full text of the talk and the accompanying slides are here. I also wrote a […]

How to create community assets

  Since 1992, several hundred homes in a corner of west London have been the standard-bearers of a new form of community control. Previously owned by Westminster Council, they were transferred to a resident-controlled housing association, Walterton and Elgin Community Homes, under the 1988 ‘tenants’ choice’ legislation. Walterton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH) arose from […]

Can a revived New Towns movement solve the housing crisis?

A new age of new towns and garden cities could be the solution to the affordable housing crisis in the UK, according to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, writes Alex Douet. In a speech to the National House Building Council recently in which he announced a government investment of £225 million in new homes, Mr […]

Social value starts with the way we think

Would you ask a convicted armed robber to help you move house? Of course not. Yet a social enterprise in Manchester has been getting some of the city’s most prolific offenders to do just that. Trafford Housing Trust’s CleanStart project looks after empty properties and prepares them for new tenants. It also does removals. More than 200 […]

Can social landlords be agents of local economic change?

A few years ago the Joseph Rowntree Foundation produced a report entitled Person or place-based policies to tackle disadvantage? Not knowing what works. The title was a fitting, if depressing, summary of more than two decades of research and practice. The current government has decided that the answer to this conundrum is to stop looking […]

Inspiration of the week: South London’s urban forest

Hidden from incessant passing traffic at the busy south London junction of Elephant and Castle is an unusual urban forest. It’s a haven for wildlife and a home for 450 mature trees, planted 40 years ago when the Heygate Estate was built as affordable housing for local people. Now, after a long and acrimonious campaign […]

Inspiration of the week: Bow Arts

More than 100 artists have found affordable studio space and are helping to regenerate London’s east end, thanks to a unique collaboration with the registered social landlord Poplar HARCA. The scheme runs in Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest wards in the country, where HARCA had a growing number of redundant flats that had become […]

Introducing the Deighton and Brackenhall tapes

Over the last few days we’ve been carrying out a series of in-depth interviews in north Huddersfield, examining the progress made by the Deighton and Brackenhall Initiative. The initiative has been working for a decade to improve what were some of the poorest areas of Kirklees in west Yorkshire. The work has included the demolition […]

Inspiration of the week: The Greenhouse

Walk into the Greenhouse and you wouldn’t imagine it was once a local eyesore. The former Shaftesbury House workers’ lodgings in Beeston Hill, south Leeds, is now a showpiece for sustainable living. It’s an example of what can be done with a building that could easily have been demolished and replaced with a boring development of […]

Why we need an ethic of regeneration

Just what IS regeneration? James Morris, a member of the House of Commons communities and local government select committee, posed the question yesterday that experts have struggled to answer over many decades. I was one of the witnesses called to give evidence at the first hearing of the committee’s current inquiry into regeneration yesterday. Numerous […]